What can parents do about their ‘difficult’ adult children?

“You can’t go home again,” according to the old saying. Tell that to the adult children who are returning to live with their parents, or never leaving, in record numbers. For the first time in recent history, more young adults are living with their parents than cohabitating in romantic or married situations. No doubt about it: how we think about parenting and retirement have changed. While the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 explains some of the recent rise in adult children moving back home, this trend has been increasing since the 1960s. The employment market has changed drastically, for one thing. Gone are the factory jobs and other opportunities for people who have not graduated college. Delayed marriage and increasing divorce rates have also contributed to the rise in intergenerational households, as has the skyrocketing price of housing. There are, however, two different groups of adult children who return home... Read more

The ADHD Guide to Naturally Flowing, ‘Normal’ Conversations

There’s a general assumption that people know the unspoken, unwritten, often mysterious rules of social engagement. These assumptions do not account for the experience of living with neurodiversity. Either way, it’s never too late to learn how to have a conversation. Communication can be tricky for people with ADHD, who may interrupt too much, speak too quickly, or space out unintentionally and miss key elements of a conversation. As a result, many individuals worry that they will say something stupid in conversation, or that they’ll try so hard to appear “normal” that they end up looking strange. The task becomes so daunting, people may question their ability to engage in naturally flowing, comfortable conversations. There’s a general assumption that people know the unspoken, unwritten, and often mysterious rules of social engagement. These assumptions do not account for the experience of living with neurodiversity — some people with ADHD, learning differences,... Read more

Parenting a ‘Difficult Adult Child’

"You can't go home again," according to the old saying. Tell that to the adult children who are returning to live with their parents, or never leaving, in record numbers. For the first time in recent history, more young adults are living with their parents than cohabitating in romantic or married situations. No doubt about it: how we think about parenting and retirement have changed. While the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 explains some of the recent rise in adult children moving back home, this trend has been increasing since the 1960s. The employment market has changed drastically, for one thing. Gone are the factory jobs and other opportunities for people who have not graduated college. Delayed marriage and increasing divorce rates have also contributed to the rise in intergenerational households, as has the skyrocketing price of housing. There are, however, two different groups of adult children who return home... Read more

Gifted People Can Be Wounded Too

Most people would not think of being highly sensitive, empathic, intelligent, insightful, and inquisitive as a cause for childhood trauma. Apart from being the target of envy and being the unwelcomed truth-teller in any social group, the biggest potential source of trauma for emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually gifted people often comes from their families. Here are some of the less-known gifted trauma: 1. Subtle Rejection of the Gifted The first layer of wounds for gifted people comes from their parents’ implicit rejection of them. Your parents may feel intimidated by your penetrative insights. In one way or the other, they may have felt a sense that you can see through them—their vulnerabilities, hypocrisies, mistakes, and weaknesses—everything they would normally hide from their children. They might have felt threatened by your speed, insights, honesty, and intelligence. To protect themselves, they put a wall up and pulled back. For a child, however,... Read more

Children of toxic parenting open up about lifelong emotional battles

Children of toxic parenting open up about lifelong emotional battles

Lifetime scars: Toxic parenting can leave a poisonous legacy for children. (Unsplash/Chin Le Duc) (Unsplash/Chin Le Duc) Not all families are blessed with bliss. For people born to so-called “toxic parents”, the effects may persist a lifetime. Toxic parenting. The term seems to be trending lately as many Indonesian parents learn to be better mothers or fathers by avoiding their own parents’ mistakes. From dominating their children to being verbally abusive, parents’ faults may have lasting effects on their children. For some, such toxic behavior is the result of generational trauma or economic struggle. For others, it is the consequence of a bitter truth: that some parents have never grown up. “Toxic parenting comes from ignorance,” psychologist Sani Hermawan said. “Parents refuse to learn the right parenting methods for their child, and they repeat the toxic patterns they learned from their own parents. They just imitate without consciously considering the... Read more

Why Do People Have Repressed Anger?

People’s habitual way of dealing with anger falls into one of two sets of patterns—externalising it or internalising it. As people who repress anger divert their anger toward themselves, they often suffer from depression, anxiety, and somatisation. When a person represses anger, they may find that many of their other desirable feelings also get numbed out. Anger is a natural emotion and has to be processed in one way or the other. Normally, people’s habitual way of dealing with anger falls into one of two sets of patterns—externalising it or internalising it. When these patterns are held in a rigid way or used excessively, there can be detrimental health consequences. Internalised anger is also known as repressed anger, and it can take different forms. In this article, we will discuss what causes people to repress anger. When people think of anger, externalised forms of anger often come to mind—someone shouting,... Read more

Op-Ed: 1 in 4 adults are estranged from family and paying a psychological price

1 in 4 adults are estranged from family and paying a psychological price

Search “toxic parents” on Instagram, and you’ll find more than 38,000 posts, largely urging young adults to cut ties with their families. The idea is to protect one’s mental health from abusive parents. However, as a psychoanalyst, I’ve seen that trend in recent years become a way to manage conflicts in the family, and I have seen the steep toll estrangement takes on both sides of the divide. This is a self-help trend that creates much harm. Research by Karl Pillemer, a family sociologist and professor of human development at Cornell University, indicates that 1 in 4 American adults have become estranged from their families. I believe that’s an undercount, because others have stopped short of completely cutting off contact but have effectively severed the ties. “Canceling” your parent can be seen as an extension of a larger cultural trend aimed at correcting imbalances in power and systemic inequality. Certainly... Read more

Parents want their children to be more thankful, poll finds

Parents want their children to be more thankful, poll finds

The season of giving thanks can't come quickly enough for some parents. Four in five parents who responded to a poll from the University of Michigan Health say children today are not grateful enough. Parents who responded to the poll say they are teaching their children the magic words, "please and thank you." However, when it comes to actions over words, the children -- and parents -- could be falling short, said Sarah Clark, research scientist at the University of Michigan and co-director of the poll. Nearly all parents say it's possible to teach children gratitude, and three-fourths of parents say teaching gratitude is a priority. The most common ways parents teach children gratitude are "please and thank you," followed by enforcing chores. Just over one-third of parents use strategies like donating toys or clothes and saying a prayer of thanks. "My hope is a poll like this causes some... Read more

What to Know Anxious Attachment and Tips to Cope

Anxious Attachment and Tips to Cope

Anxious attachment is one of four attachment styles that develop in childhood and continue into adulthood. These attachment styles can be secure (a person feels confident in relationships) or insecure (a person has fear and uncertainty in relationships). Also known as ambivalent attachment or anxious-preoccupied attachment, anxious attachment can result from an inconsistent relationship with a parent or caregiver. Adults who are anxiously attached may be considered needy or clingy in their relationships and lack healthy self-esteem.1 Through approaches such as therapy, it's possible to change attachment styles or learn to have healthy relationships despite attachment anxiety. What's Your Attachment Style? There are four main attachment styles. The following are some of the ways they may manifest in relationships:1 Secure attachment: Able to set appropriate boundaries; has trust and feels secure in close relationships; thrives in relationships but does well on their own as well Anxious attachment: Tends to be... Read more

What Is Parentification?

What Is Parentification?

Do you feel like you were pushed into taking care of your parents or siblings when you were only a child yourself? That you became an adult before you were ready for the role? If you’re nodding, you may have been parentified. Being a “little parent” involves excessive responsibility or emotional burden that can impact a child’s development. That said, it’s important to remember that some responsibility is a good thing. Helping out a parent on occasion and at the right level helps a child believe in themselves and their ability to one day also be an adult. Let’s take a closer look at how and when the line into parentification is crossed. In the typical order of things, parents give and children receive. Yes, sometimes — especially in the early morning hours when your baby is teething — the giving can seem never-ending. But in general, parents are expected... Read more

Is it OK to step in when your child is having a dispute?

Is it OK to step in when your child is having a dispute?

Teacher, friendship expert and founder of a social-emotional wellbeing program for kids, Dana Kerford, explains the desire of parents to become involved usually stems from good intentions. "That love you feel for your child is raw and visceral," she says. "But the second you find out [your child is in pain and] the pain came from another child, that sweet, warm mother hen morphs into Mama Bear. "What once was warmth and compassion is now anger." And while emotions can run strong, Ms Kerford says it is important (in the majority of cases) to try not get involved in your child's dispute for a whole host of reasons. Here, she outlines five of them. Your kids fighting might give you a headache, but it can give them important life skills. Experts give tips on what you can do and whether you should do anything at all. Ms Kerford says that... Read more

Effects of marital dispute, divorce on children

Effects of marital dispute, divorce on children

Few would dispute that the different relationships that exist within a family affect the other members of the family as well. The most important relationship in this dynamic is that of parents and its effect on children. The quality of these relationships can affect children's emotional, cognitive and physical development and can imprint on their mental health as an adult as well. No relationship is free from turmoil. Conflicts and turmoil help individuals build and grow their relationships. It is a mistake to believe that children are unaware when parents argue behind closed bedroom doors. Children are more receptive to their parents' emotions than we give them credit for. Marital dispute or conflict has various dimensions that can determine the kind of effect it can create on the children like frequency, intensity, content, and resolution. Cummings classified marital conflicts as destructive and constructive. Constructive arguments involve a healthy argument between... Read more

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